Rakesh Jonghunwala, India’s Warren Buffett, dies at the age of 62

Stock investor Rakesh Jonghunwala, dubbed the Indian Warren Buffett with an estimated net worth of $6 billion, died early Sunday at the age of 62.

Jhunjhunwala, a chartered accountant from the desert state of Rajasthan, started investing in stocks while in college and went on to run a stock trading company, RARE Enterprises.

“Rakesh Ji died surrounded by his family and close aides,” a family member told Reuters, using the term respect.

The cause of death was not immediately announced.

Jhunjhunwala, the promoter of India’s newest airline, ultra-low-cost Akasa Air, has appeared at its public launch event. He left behind his wife and three children.

An ambulance leaves Breach Candy Hospital carrying Rakesh Jonghunwala in Mumbai on August 14, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images

Businessmen and bankers based in India’s financial capital, Mumbai, who interacted with him for more than 30 years, said Jhunjhunwala’s excellent communication skills have helped small investors understand the stock market. His insights into the economy and corporations made him a popular television personality.

Jhunjhunwala’s bets include a number of companies operated by the Tata Group, one of India’s largest conglomerates. These include Tata Motors, watch maker Titan, Tata Communications and the Indian Hotel Corporation, which operates Taj Hotels.

Other investments include Indiabulls Housing Finance, Star Health Insurance and Federal Bank.

Media cameras are seen outside Breach Candy Hospital where Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was admitted to Mumbai on August 14, 2022.
Media cameras are seen outside Breach Candy Hospital where Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was admitted to Mumbai on August 14, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images

Senior politicians and business leaders mourned his death via social media.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter: “Rakesh Jonghunwala was invincible.”

“Full of life, intelligent and insightful, he leaves behind an indelible contribution to the world of finance. He was also very passionate about India’s progress. His passing is heartbreaking. My condolences to his family and fans.”

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Modi ended with “Om Shanti,” a prayer for peace.

Uday Kotak, CEO of Kotak Mahindra and a friend from school days, said Jhunjhunwala “thought India’s stock was undervalued” and he was right.

“Amazingly sharp in understanding financial markets,” Kotak wrote on Twitter. “We talked regularly, and more so during COVID. I will miss you Rakesh!”

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